Trees to 8 m tall. Older branchlets grayish white to pale yellowish gray. Leaves 3-7-foliolate; petiolules rather short; leaflet blades elliptic-obovate or obovate, 1-6 × 0.5-3 cm, margin entire, apex rounded or obtuse. Inflorescences terminal or terminal and axillary. Flowers 5-merous, fragrant. Sepals ovate, ca. 1.5 mm. Petals white, oblong, 1-1.5 cm. Stamens 10. Fruit orange to vermilion, broadly ovoid, 8-12 × 6-10 mm. Seeds villous. Fl. Apr-Aug, fr. Sep-Dec. 2n = 18*.
Shrub 2-3 m tall, many-branched from near the base; twigs nearly cylindrical, puberulent. Leaves with slightly fetid smell; leaflets 5-9, alternate along leaf rachis, 1.6-3 x 0.7-1.5 cm, oblanceolate or obovate, chartaceous, glabrous, the apex obtuse to rounded, usually apiculate, the base cuneate, the margins entire to crenate, revolute; petioles 2-3 mm long, pubescent. Flowers strongly aromatic, in terminal and axillary racemes, the axes puberulent, 1-3 cm long. Sepals 5-7 mm long; petals 1.3-1.8 cm long, white, oblong-spatulate, reflexed at anthesis; stamens 10, longer ones alternating with shorter ones, the filaments white, subulate; nectary disk adnate to the base of ovary; ovary 2-3-locular, glabrous, light green, the style cylindrical. Berry ovoid to ellipsoid, ca. 1 cm long, turning from green to red, obscurely punctate. Seeds ellipsoid, 6-7 mm long.
Persistent after cultivation. Adrian ruins (A4009). Probably native to China, cultivated on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and throughout the tropics, sometimes naturalized.